Challenger's Hope

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Challenger's Hope is a 1995 science fiction novel by David Feintuch and is the second book in the Seafort Saga. It is the sequel to Midshipman's Hope and is followed by Prisoner's Hope.

Plot[edit]

Nicholas Seafort, newly assigned commander of UNS. Challenger and part of Admiral Geoffrey Tremaine's task force, has his ship taken from him when the Admiral decides to make Challenger his flagship, under the command of Captain Hasselbrad. Seafort is given command of the Admiral's far smaller original flagship, UNS Portia. Tremaine's task force has the task of reaching Hope Nation, and eliminating any aliens found on the way.

Portia is given the task of transporting a group of Lower New York 'transpops' - uneducated and often violent street children - to the colony of Detour beyond Hope Nation. Seafort initially sees the transpops as simply a danger to his ship (drugging or imprisoning them were considered as solutions). The squadron is attacked by Fish that board Portia, releasing their lethal virus into the ship and killing dozens of her crew and passengers, including Seafort's baby son. Shortly after this Amanda Seafort, driven insane by grief, commits suicide, and Nicholas suffers a temporary breakdown as a result.

After his recovery, Portia encounters Tremaine's flagship Challenger, crippled by a Fish attack. Seafort is transferred to the ship and is left alone, save for passengers and crew that Tremaine hates, including the transpops, and abandoned in space. After overcoming a mutiny, Seafort sets about preparing Challenger for an eighty-year voyage back to Earth, conscripting passengers into the Naval Service and scavenging what is possible from the wrecked sections of the ship. Barely weeks into the trip radiation from the ship's damaged propulsion systems attracts the aliens, leading to a series of desperate battles in which Challenger is further damaged, and more of her already tiny crew killed. Ultimately Seafort uses his dying ship to ram an alien, only for it to Fuse (accelerate to faster than light speed) taking Challenger with it. For sixty days Challenger remains lodged in the alien, her crew dying of malnutrition until, almost miraculously the Fish Defuses in the solar system itself.

In the aftermath of the voyage, Seafort meets his father in a naval base on the moon, and is given command of his old ship, Hibernia, to return to Hope Nation.

Preceded by
Midshipman's Hope
Seafort Saga Succeeded by
Prisoner's Hope